CoSchedule Review: Editorial Calendar
Use: Blog post planning and sharing with social media
The CoSchedule editorial calendar is one of the greatest tools I've ever discovered for content marketing and social media marketing. It has integrations with popular tools like Evernote and many social media platforms. The tool is so great that it allows me to overlook some of the decisions that occasionally frustrated me.
Why Use CoSchedule Editorial Calendar as an Editorial Calendar and Social Media Planner?
I based this CoSchedule Editorial Calendar review upon my experience using it on two other web sites over the past couple of years.
Working with CoSchedule as an editorial calendar and social media promotion tool has shown me that effective planning and promotion are key elements in driving targeted traffic to your web site. As your site grows, it may become more difficult to create new content. You start covering the same topics because you don't know what you've already published. Your articles tend to have little planning and get written on the spur of the moment.
An editorial calendar provides a structure to plan your publication in advance and break up your workflow. Instead of tackling a post as one beast, you can start to separate tasks into manageable chunks.
- Spend time coming up with ideas and put them on the calendar
- Flesh out killer headlines using the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
- Work on your graphics, photos and other media
- Create your subtitles to guide the flow of your article
- Write the substance inside the framework you created
- Add your artwork and other media
- Review your post
- Schedule the publication in advance
- Schedule your social media promotion in advance
An editorial calendar isn't just about picking a date to publish an article. It allows you to break up the tasks for each post into bite-sized components that you can assign to your team, or work on the pieces one at a time to assemble your killer content. You can use CoSchedule to make your content creation more efficient, which also gives you the time be more creative.
In short, the CoSchedule editorial calendar is great. My problems lie with the people who run the company.
I Have a Few Gripes with CoSchedule
As an editorial calendar, I think that CoSchedule Editorial Calendar is the best of the breed. That isn't to say that I agree with everything that the management of the company rolled downhill.
I signed up for the CoSchedule annual plan.
CoSchedule keeps developing new features and they inform customers of those over email. Naturally, the prospect getting my hands on the new tools when they came out excited me.
When the time came, I signed in my account and couldn't find the tools. It seems that I was now considered a “Legacy Account.” In other words, I was an early adopter of CoSchedule and they decided to raise the price to access these new features.
Those of us who were early customers could keep our Legacy plan, but we could not use the new tools unless we paid more. That struck me as a bit of a slap in the face to the early customers.
When this happened, I checked with Support. It appeared that some of the tools I was already using were also taken away. When I complained that this was poorly communicated, this is the reply about my concerns.
CoSchedule still has room to improve when communicating just who can and who cannot use new features. In most cases, new features seem like enticements to purchase a more expensive plan.
I'm not real happy about that.
The other thing that I wish had better communication is the renewal process. I'd like to see an email or some notice telling me when I'm due for renewal of the service. Finding out when the charge gets posted leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The editorial calendar and social media integration are fantastic. The CoSchedule Blog is wonderful. Some of the management decisions about additions to the service leave me wanting. That, combined with the lack of notice for billing, really boils down to poor communication.
There are bigger problems.
CoSchedule Doesn't Care About Its Customers
CoSchedule Support frustrates me beyond belief.
My most recent interaction with CoSchedule Support is what pushed me over the edge to leave this company behind. The responses I received were self-contradictory, short-lived promises that ultimately failed.
Each year during renewal, I have an argument with CoSchedule over pricing issues. It seems that CoSchedule does not value its customers. We are to CoSchedule as beans are to a farmer.
Something to be harvested and counted.
CoSchedule is always looking for ways to squeeze more sales out of customers. There is no loyalty to the customer base at all. Having been an early adopter, I didn't receive any benefits for helping them get started. Instead, I was relegated to Legacy status. Some of the features that I had in my plan were stripped away and available only in a newer, more expensive plan.
In at least one case, I was able to retain one of the benefits I had as an original customer. Even then, it was only for the calendar on one blog, but not the calendar on other blogs.
Although you have one account, you have a separate subscription for each blog you host. There are no options to save money by bundling multiple domains. You pay for each one separately and you cannot share any resources or features between them.
Any Answer You Get From CoSchedule Lasts About Five Minutes Before It Changes
It's common to have a support session provided by multiple agents. You start with one person who provides information, and then you try it out. When you go back to the support ticket, someone else may be there to help you.
The problem is that any information or offer provided by the first person gets totally disregarded by the next person.
They tell you that you misunderstood.
It's never their fault. So you go back and work through the issue again. Yet another person comes along and contradicts both of the previous people.
It's like a comedy act, except they're messing with your money. One person tells you that you're getting a discount or refund, and the next person find an excuse to take it away, or at least cut the refund in half.
The Truth About CoSchedule Reviews
You will see an awful lot of CoSchedule Reviews on the web extolling the virtues of the product. That's because CoSchedule offers a 50% discount for writing those reviews on a live blog.
I've written three of those reviews.
To be honest, the product is pretty good. As I've said, it's the best of breed editorial calendar on the market. I was honestly able to write those reviews and recommend the product.
It's the company that I find revolting.
Having gone through multiple iterations of duplicity from CoSchedule, I simply cannot recommend this product to anyone. It doesn't matter how good the product is when you think the people behind the product lack integrity.
Most people won't take the time to write a review about negative experiences like mine. In fact, I don't prefer posting negative reviews.
In this case, I feel compelled to correct a problem. I used to recommend CoSchedule, but I can't do it anymore. My own sense of integrity won't allow it. There is no way I want anyone else to experience the issues that I had with CoSchedule, so my advice is to stay away from the company.
CoSchedule Makes it Difficult to Downgrade
One of my blogs had a Team Standard plan for two users at a cost of $30/month. My wife got fed up with CoSchedule more than a year ago and stopped using it. When CoSchedule renewed this plan (without notice), I reached out to change my plan.
My idea was to change the blog to a Solo plan at half the cost, and move the value of the other user to this blog so I could use CoSchedule here.
CoSchedule support staff had other ideas.
First, they renewed my plan for $360 for the year. That's $30/month for 12 months. Never mind that I created a review to obtain a 50% discount. It was dismissed. I had to refresh or write a new review.
You're looking at the new review. I met the criteria specified as agreed with CoSchedule support. After the review went live, I was told it doesn't apply because it wasn't on the same blog as I was charged. It was a different support agent who turned me down again, which is part of the pattern. They keep changing staff on a case, and the rules change each time.
I was still facing a $360 charge, even though I downgraded.
As it happens, the way that CoSchedule present its plans to change is misleading. Take a look.
I took this screenshot after I realized what happened. The box at the top represented my current plan, which was Team Standard. I was told to change to a Solo plan, which I selected.
It's my fault for not paying attention, but look at the first block. It says Solo Marketing and the cost is $30. I missed that detail, as I was just looking for “Solo”. When I asked why my price didn't get cut in half, they pointed out that I changed to a plan with the same price.
See the Fine Print
What I had to do instead was look for the teeny, tiny text underneath that says “See More Details.” You may need a magnifying glass to read it.
Here's what you see when you click that link.
That's where you have to look to find the $15/month Solo Standard plan. It's not exactly obvious to find.
I wrote a review here (note the comment from below from a CoSchedule support rep, Chris) and refreshed my other reviews. Still, I didn't get my refund. In fact, I was charged a few dollars more.
By this time, I was fed up with CoSchedule and ready to leave.
I still approve of the product, but the conduct of the company was more than I could bear. The duplicity and poor customer service is why I left. It's why I recommend you stay away from CoSchedule.
CoSchedule Makes it Hard to Cancel
The fine print strikes again. This is the page to cancel your subscription.
Once again, you have to look at the bottom of the page to find the teeny, tiny link to cancel your subscription. CoSchedule doesn't want anyone leaving their gravy train.
If you don't believe me, this is the page you see when you click that link to cancel your subscription.
Looks dire, doesn't it? Once more, you have to find the teeny, tiny link at the bottom of the page. Even then, CoSchedule keeps delaying your desire to leave.
First with a survey.
Note the button to change your mind and say you don't want to cancel. If you do click the Next button, you get a bribe offer.
Now they tell you that you can save 50% if you write a review or tutorial. Except they don't tell you how they take that discount away from your, or tell you that your review is irrelevant.
Finally, you get to cancel your subscription. At least that's what you think.
CoSchedule doesn't terminate your plan. Instead, it gets converted to a two-week free trial. That allows them to keep sending you emails to sign up again.
It's hard as hell to leave CoSchedule.
Alternatives to Using CoSchedule?
It's because the people who run CoSchedule don't respect you. They only want your money. That's the truth about CoSchedule.
Instead of CoSchedule, I'm using Asana for my editorial calendar and planning needs. Granted, it doesn't integrate any social media posts within the site – but there are plenty of other tools that can do this much better than the CoSchedule Editorial Calendar.